Assistant trainer Robin Cleary, who was paralyzed in an accident at Calder Race Course in 1996, will be celebrated May 30 at Calder’s Turf Club for raising more than $1 million for The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis’ spinal-cord injury research programs.
“What Robin has done is simply amazing,” Miami Project president Marc Buoniconti said in a statement. “I know of no other individual who has led such a grassroots effort to raise money for any charity. She is truly our shining star and an example of how much one determined individual can do to make a huge difference in the lives of so many.”
The 1996 injury left Cleary a quadriplegic, but she and her husband, Brian, still train horses together. The majority of her funds came from the horseracing industry – in fact, during her honorary ceremony, Calder will present the check that will officially put her over the $1-million mark.
At Cleary’s suggestion, farm owners, racetrack executives, horse-related associations, sale companies, trainers, owners, jockeys, grooms, exercise riders, and hot walkers have all responded for a common cause.
“Each year I continue to try and expand my efforts and reach,” Cleary said. “I am so fortunate that the horse community, full of so many giving people, answered the call these past 10 years. I never thought it possible to raise the kind of money I have when I started. I’m humbled by their generosity and fortunate to have many dedicated and generous donors and friends who have given me the opportunity to help fund this research and be a part of finding a cure.”
In early 1998, Cleary learned of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis. Since The Miami Project is the world's largest organization working to find a cure for paralysis, she decided to do what she could to help. In 2000, her efforts became so successful that The Miami Project named a special fund in her honor – the Robin Cleary Paralysis Research Fund at The Miami Project.
One-hundred percent of the money Cleary raises goes directly to spinal-cord regeneration research programs, which are some of the most promising areas of research in the field. The Miami Project, located at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine, is now embarking on a human clinical trials initiative to fast-track promising research to the clinics and hospitals.